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  • Keith Halliday

Episode 15 - Boom Town Dawson City

It's October 1897 and you've finally made it to Dawson City! The city is one year old, and halfway on its meteoric rise from moose pasture to Paris of the North. Despite the relief of getting to the Klondike after crossing the passes and navigating the Yukon River, life was not easy for the newly arrived stampeders. Winter was coming, and it was a race against Forty Below to build a cabin, some furniture, and get ready for that first Yukon winter. And find some food if your outfit was too small or lost on the river. Fortunately, the Opera House saloon and Pete's Place were there to welcome you, whether you were a freshly made millionaire or a "busted man" down to your last nickel.

Photo: Dawson City street scene.

Sources, maps & reading

  • The Klondike Stampede by Tappan Adney

  • Early Days on the Yukon by William Ogilvie, the memoirs of the first surveyor of the Yukon Territory and full of memorable anecdotes and first-hand accounts of key events and personalities.

  • Klondike by Pierre Berton, a classic popular history book that reinvigorated interest in the gold rush in the mid-20th century and full of riveting episodes including on Soapy Smith.

  • Current Dawson City "Discover Dawson" website to plan your visit.

  • Parks Canada webpages with old photos and information on historical sites to visit.

Photo above in the public domain from Wikipedia Commons.


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